Small quake rattles mid- and lower valley
August 22, 2012
CARBONDALE – Some midvalley residents felt a little rattled Tuesday afternoon when a 3.3-magnitude earthquake struck 12 miles north of Carbondale and 15.5 miles east of Glenwood Springs, according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden.
There were no reports of damage, but several people called the earthquake center with inquires and others reported what they witnessed at the agency’s website, said Susan Hoover, a geophysicist at the center. By 6 p.m., 19 people from Carbondale, three from Glenwood Springs and one from Basalt reported what they felt on the information center’s “Did You Feel It?” survey.
The quake hit at 3:21 p.m. Responders reporting to the center indicated that the intensity was a “2” or “3” on a scale from 1 to 12, with 12 representing extensive destruction. A “3” means the earthquake is noticeable within structures, Hoover said.
El Jebel resident Kim Wille was working on a computer from her bed while recovering from an ailment.
“I just felt the bed swaying,” she said. “It lasted for three to five seconds.” The swaying was gentle, she added. Nothing fell from shelves or out of cupboards.
“I thought something maybe hit the house,” Wille said. “Then I had to go outside to see.”
The jolt was more intense in Missouri Heights. Homeowner Andy Stone said he first heard a noise and then a “roar,” and his house started shaking.
“Everything around me was shaking. It was very loud,” he said.
He noted his house is adobe, so it is solid. The quake was large enough to be easily felt within its confines for what he estimated to be 10 seconds.
“The whole thing shook,” Stone said. “It got my attention.”
Dave Hjerleid was working on a motorcycle in his garage in Sopris Village when he noticed something odd.
“I felt the garage door and window shake,” Hjerleid said. “I felt it was a big gust of wind, yet it was calm.”
An office worker in Glenwood Springs emailed the Glenwood Post Independent to report he and colleagues felt the earthquake. He wrote that his wife in the midvalley Blue Lake subdivision apparently had more of a jolt than that felt in Glenwood Springs. The shaking wasn’t apparent in Aspen.
The earthquake happened closest to the town of Gypsum, in an area with a history of quakes. Hoover said that since the 1970s there have been 40 earthquakes within 31 miles of where Tuesday’s was. Most have been in the magnitude of 2.0 to 2.9. A 4.0-magnitude quake hit in 2001 as well as a 3.8-magnitude event in 2006, she said.
One of the larger recent earthquakes in Colorado occurred one year ago, on Aug. 23, 2011, when a 5.3-magnitude quake hit near Trinidad, at the New Mexico state line, Hoover said. It caused moderate damage.
More on earthquakes in general and the specific one that rattled the Roaring Fork Valley is available at earthquake.usgs.gov.